Distal Proprioceptive Sensor for Motion Feedback in Endoscope-Based Modular Robotic Systems


J. B. Gafford, H. Aihara, C. Thompson, R. J. Wood, and C. J. Walsh, “Distal Proprioceptive Sensor for Motion Feedback in Endoscope-Based Modular Robotic Systems,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. PP, 2017.


Modular robotic systems that integrate with commercially-available endoscopic equipment have the potential to improve the standard-of-care in therapeutic endoscopy by granting clinicians with capabilities not present in commercial tools, such as precision dexterity and motion sensing. With the desire to integrate both sensing and actuation distally for closed-loop position control in fully-deployable, endoscope-based robotic modules, commercial sensor and actuator options that acquiesce to the strict form-factor requirements are sparse or nonexistent. Herein we describe a proprioceptive angle sensor for potential closed-loop position control applications in distal robotic modules. Fabricated monolithically using printed-circuit MEMS, the sensor employs a kinematic linkage and the principle of light intensity modulation to sense the angle of articulation with a high degree of fidelity. On-board temperature and environmental irradiance measurements, coupled with linear regression techniques, provide robust angle measurements that are insensitive to environmental disturbances. The sensor is capable of measuring +/-45 degrees of articulation with an RMS error of 0.98 degrees. An integrated demonstration shows that the sensor can give real-time proprioceptive feedback when coupled with an actuator module, opening up the possibility of fully-distal closed-loop control.

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Last updated on 08/17/2017